"Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority,
it's time to pause and reflect."
---Mark Twain ---
Diving off a PEI Beach
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Ellen & I spent the morning working on our books and such, then went for a
swim. Bill and Faye came at about four and we had another swim, a boat
ride and supper, then called it a day.
Bill is a ham operator (VE3BEK), as am I (VE6CFK), and he showed me the
IRLP links that permit
instant coverage of hundreds of regions of the world by walkie-talkie.
I have not been very active in ham radio, since I got onto the internet in
about 1992, but I still hold an advanced license.
Clearing in the morning. High 22./ Tonight .. Clear. Wind south 20 km/h
diminishing to light this evening. Low 9
One month until the fall equinox, and we can see the days shortening.
The temperatures are still warm, though and Alberta is in drought again, I
hear. We'll be heading there soon, and we have not decided whether to
drive or fly. We're inclined towards driving at this point, but it is 33
hours of highway from here, and the thought does not appeal.
Sunny. High 29. UV index 6 or moderate. / Tonight .. Clear. Wind southeast 20
km/h becoming light near midnight. Low 13. / Normals for the period .. Low 8.
We decided to drive home, rather than fly, and visit friends along the way,
and drove out to Whitefish Falls in the afternoon. Bill Picked us up at the
dock and we arrived at the Piirto camp on TP2300 a few minutes later. After
snorleling, swimming and a sauna, we had supper and called it a day.
Today .. Sunny
with cloudy periods. 30 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms. High 26. UV
index 5 or moderate. / Tonight .. Cloudy periods. 30 percent chance of showers
or thunderstorms this evening. Wind east 20 km/h becoming light this evening.
Low 10. / Normals for the period .. Low 9. High 23.
We awoke, had breakfast, packed, then we all crossed to the mainland and
went for a hike up into the quarry and on up to Willisville. I was feeling a
bit stiff, and the walk was just what I needed.
After the walk, we bid the Wickendens farewell, and drove to the Sault. We
arrived at Piirtoniemis' around six and spent the night. Since Ken's parents
were there, and the spare room taken, we drew the motorhome for accommodation.
A motorhome makes an ideal visitors' suite, and we were right at home.
Sunny. Wind becoming south 20 km/h. High 26. UV index 6 or moderate. / Tonight
.. Clear. Wind southeast 20 km/h becoming light this evening. Low 11. / Normals
for the period .. Low 10. High 24.
After breakfast, we drove west, headed for the Lakehead. We took our time,
and by around six we found ourselves at Terrace Bay. We'd always wanted to
explore this area and checked into a motel for the night.
Cloudy periods. Low 5. / Normals for the period .. Low 7. High 21.
In the morning, we drove on towards Kenora. We had decided to take our
time and explore a bit. We stopped to explore a canyon near Terrace Bay,
then again at Ouimet Canyon.
We then proceeded to Thunder Bay to visit the Finnish section. My wife
was born in a Finnish community in Canada and her family still speak Finnish
and follow some of the Finnish customs. We found several sauna shops
there and plan to get a steam bath stove from one of the shops there.
From there, we went to Kakabeka Falls and
wound up at Ignace at supper time. Our meal took two hours and we called
it a day.
The motels we have been finding along the Trans-Canada Highway all have
phones, but their suitability for internet connection are variable.
Sometimes I get a 50 kps transfer, and other times I have trouble holding a
19.2 connection. The last few days have been like that, and, at Ignace, a
Nortel system would not allow me to even get a dial tone on the computer,
although the phone itself worked okay for voice calls.
Sunny with cloudy periods. High 22. UV index 5 or moderate. / Tonight .. Cloudy
periods. Low 7. / Tuesday .. A mix of sun and cloud. Wind becoming southeast 20
km/h this afternoon. High 25. UV index 5 or moderate.
We arrived at Cheryl's around eight AM. Cheryl is Ellen's roommate
from university and they have kept in touch over the years. We spent the
day visiting and, since her daughter and children were also visiting, we stayed
at the Travelodge. We lucked out and got a very good rate and a lovely
room with a king-sized bed.
We had supper with Cheryl, her mom, Rick and Joanne and with Kelley and her
boys, then turned in at our hotel for a good night's sleep.
.. A few clouds. Wind southeast 20 km/h becoming northwest 20 near midnight.
We decided to stay another day, and spent the day downtown and on a cruise.
I found the library and looked up Lemon-aid. While in Sault Saint
Marie, Ken had been speaking highly of the publications. I had not really
thought very highly of them, but it was many years since I had heard Edmonston
on the radio and obviously Phil and the Automobile Protection
Association have come a long way. Having been present when my mother
bought a car, and having bought her trade-in from her, I was curious.
We then took a cruise on the M.S. Kenora. I'd seen lake of the
Woods from a speedboat and from a windsurfer in the past, but thought that the
ladies would enjoy the ride.
Wednesday .. A
mix of sun and cloud. 60 percent chance of afternoon showers or thunderstorms.
Wind northwest 20 km/h. High 21. UV index 4 or moderate.
Tonight .. Cloudy. 60 percent chance of showers. Risk of early evening
thunderstorms. Wind north 20 km/h. Low 8.
We arose early and, after a quick breakfast, hit the road west. It had
rained all night and continued to rain heavily as far as Indian Head. We
made it to swift Current and found a motel.
Cloudy. 60 percent chance of showers. Wind north 20 km/h. High 15./ Normals for
the period .. Low 7. High 21.
We're home in Swalwell. We started out at 9:30 and arrived home at noon.
We are now catching up on the mail and on paying bills. I'm hoping to get
the site more up to date in the next few days.
I expect that I'll get back to writing about bees a bit more in the next
while. For one thing, I guess I'll have to check and see how the hives
are doing. Have they made honey? How are the mite levels.
|One thing that struck me recently is how, after border closure,
we in Alberta have come to accept the CHC party line that overwintering
bees is the only way to go.
Alberta beekeeping was founded on package imports, and until the
mid-1980s, entirely interdependent with Western US beekeeping.
Acceptance of border closure, and agreement to permit the prohibition,
was an emergency measure, and expected to be temporary. Alberta
beekeepers knew they were going to have a much tougher life, but at
that time, no one knew if the mites would destroy the North American
bee industry. Delaying the arrival of mites by a prohibition
seemed a reasonable measure, at least until we had an idea how serious
a threat they were and if they could be managed. Alberta
beekeepers decided -- by a narrow margin -- to support a temporary
prohibition on US imports. What we did not realize was that
Alberta's hardship would continue long after the problems were solved
in the US, and that Alberta's pain and economic loss, and legitimate
efforts to mitigate the damage would be the object of scorn by by their
When I started keeping bees in Alberta, 30 years ago, it seems
to me that many, if not most commercial prairie beekeepers bought
packages each spring, and gassed bees annually in the fall.
They ran a simple, profitable, seasonal business. I preferred
to winter, and others did, as well, but was quite unsuccessful at it
after I quit running two-queen colonies. I tried the package
bee approach for a few years myself, and know how it works. In
recent years, I have managed to have good success in overwintering,
but have to acknowledge that, at any time, I could have had a
complete failure and have found myself unable to obtain replacements,
as so many did this year.
It would be interesting to get my hands on historical records
of how many bees were bought annually, how many were gassed, how many
were wintered, etc., before Albertans were deprived of choice.
What will happen when the US border opens? It will some day
soon. I imagine a few Albertans will go back to gassing or
selling off bees in the fall and buying replacement bees annually,
but most will winter bees and buy make-up packages too. Bees
are a valuable resource, and we have learned how to winter bees, so
many will continue to do so, although some beekeepers are better and
luckier at it than others. Some regions and management methods
are not compatible with reliable wintering, it seems.
Previously I mentioned 'comparative advantage' as being the reason
for the traditional trade in bees and honey between Alberta and California, and
behind Alberta's strong motivation to return to 'normal' as soon as possible.
Comparative advantage is an underlying principle justifying the
worldwide move towards free trade.
I came across this quote in an essay:
" This is called the Law of Comparative Advantage, which was developed
in the early 1800s by the great English economist David Ricardo. In short,
this is a principle that states that individuals, firms, regions or nations
can gain by specializing in the production of goods that they produce cheaply
(that is, at a low opportunity cost) and exchanging those goods for other
desired goods for which they are high-opportunity-cost producers.
This is a very neat and tidy law, and is true for all places and all
times, in capitalist as well as socialist countries. But it has a caveat.
When that comparative advantage changes, those directly affected in the
negative will not be happy. If it is your job that is lost to China or to a
robot, you are the one who must find a new avenue of support.
Our situation is a textbook example of how comparative advantage works to
the advantage of both partners in real life, California raises large
populations of bees better and earlier than Alberta can, and Alberta can
produce much more and better honey with far fewer bees and less management than
California can. California needs honey, Alberta needs bees.
Perfect -- except that protectionist forces have intervened to disrupt trade.
California can also out-compete Australia and New Zealand on price,
quality and timeliness. Canadian suppliers, being at a great
disadvantage due to climate, also have difficulty supplying quality bees in
quantity, or in the reliable and timely fashion required by commercial
Sunny. High 22. UV index 5 or moderate. / Tonight .. Clear. Low 4. Risk of
frost. / Normals for the period .. Low 6. High 20.
Today, we just recovered from our trip. I began the job of reconciling
accounts and working through messages. Meijers came over for supper.
Apparently they had a decent crop, and good results from their pollination
After supper, we went out and looked at my bees. Some had honey, but
most are just getting by. A few look dead. We purposely split them
to avoid honey production, and did not check queens before we left, six weeks
ago, so that is to be expected. When we split, 30 became 71, and that did
the trick. I think we may have about 20 to 30 boxes to extract, and that
is about it.
Meijers borrowed some sticky boards to do a mite survey. We'll have to
do the same and decide if we need to treat. one strip of apistan each
spring has worked for us so far, but the trick is to keep checking. We do
a sticky board each fall as the brood rearing tapers off and see what the
natural mite fall is. So far, we normally only find one or two mites
a day, max, and that is no threat, but each year is different.
Today .. Sunny. High 27. UV index 5 or
moderate. / Tonight .. Clear. Wind southeast 20 km/h becoming light. Low 10. /
Normals for the period .. Low 6. High 20.
I spent the morning working on the books. Our phone line went out of
service last night, so the Internet was out of reach until mid-day, when
In mid-afternoon, Jean and Chris came to visit and stay the night.
Today : Sunny. High 27. UV index 5 or
Tonight : A few clouds. Wind northeast 20 km/h diminishing to light this
evening. Low 8.
Monday : Sunny with cloudy periods. High 21.
Tuesday : Sunny. Low 6. High 25.
Wednesday : Sunny. Low 10. High 27.
Thursday : A mix of sun and cloud. 30 percent chance of showers. Low 9. High
Normals for the period : Low 6. High 20.
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